It’s easy to get confused talking about clean, renewable, and green energy. The terms are often used interchangeably, but they don’t always have the same meaning. While there is a lot of overlap, subtle differences can have an effect on the environment and government credits for production.
To fully understand the differences between clean and renewable energy, you need to know what the terms mean. This way you know you’re using clean renewable energy and reducing your carbon footprint.
If you’re ready to act today, learn about the power generation process systems available through IFS.
What Is Clean Energy?
Clean energy is defined as energy that releases minuscule or zero amounts of radiation, carbon dioxide, and chemical contaminants into the atmosphere and soil according to NCSEA. Examples of clean energy sources include wind and solar energy that do not emit pollutants into the environment.
Like wind-produced power, solar energy is also clean. Power is generated by sunlight without emissions. Both are clean energy sources, along with geothermal, hydro, and biomass but it doesn’t automatically mean that these sources are renewable. This is why you don’t want to use the terms interchangeably unless you know that your clean energy is also renewable.
Clean Energy vs. Renewable Energy – How Clean Is Renewable Energy?
Renewable energy is in theory inexhaustible. It means that there is a continual source of energy. However, renewable energy isn’t always clean. Some renewable energy sources do emit pollutants over the threshold of what is considered “clean”.
It often depends on state legislation on whether a renewable energy source meets the parameters to also be considered clean power. For example, as of summer 2019, the majority of U.S. states have a “renewable portfolio standard” in place, but not all of them require clean energy sources. There is currently no federal standard in place to unite policy conditions.
The cleanest renewable energy source is a tie between solar, wind, and geothermal heat. Smaller hydro plants also produce clean, renewable energy. It’s the larger hydro plants that can emit pollutants that limit it to being only renewable, instead of clean energy.
Clean Energy vs. Green Energy
Unlike clean energy types that produce little to zero emissions into the environment, green energy does release a small amount of pollution. Compared to fossil fuels like coal, the greenhouse gases are negligible, but there can still be an effect on the environment.
Due to the low amount of radiation, gas, and other containments, green energy does not threaten animals and plants with loss of habitat or extinction. Even though clean energy is the best way to counteract pollution, climate change, and possible species extinction, using green energy is a step towards lowering your impact on the environment.
Clean Energy vs. Sustainable Energy
Not only is wind energy clean, but it’s also sustainable. The same also applies to solar power. Sustainable energy is power that automatically renews. The supplies can’t be depleted no matter how much energy is uses. Wind will continue to turn the turbines, and the sun will provide solar energy as long as it produces light. Sustainable energy can keep the power flowing for generations.
Other sustainable energy sources include tidal and geothermal energy. These are also considered clean sources if production doesn’t emit pollutants into the environment.
Some people also consider nuclear power a sustainable energy source. There is more nuclear power available than humans can ever use during their existence. However, the supply of nuclear energy is exhaustible. There is a finite amount even if it is never completely used up.
Examples of Clean Energy
Renewable, green, and sustainable energy can all be considered clean energy sources if only a minuscule amount of containments are released into the air, soil, and water. Ideally, clean energy emits zero pollutants. Learn more about this on the Energy.gov website.
Some examples of clean energy include,
- Solar energy uses panels to collect the sun’s light and heat turning it into useable power without any emissions.
- Wind energy is produced by turbines, similar to windmills. There aren’t any pollutants emitted when power is generated.
- Bioenergy does produce a low volume of emissions, but it’s still considered clean. Energy is created from waste found in landfills and fermented crops. It is a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels. Since waste is almost inexhaustible, it’s also a sustainable source.
- Geothermal energy uses heat from the earth to generate power. Heat from the earth is used to boil water in the production plants, which turns to steam. The steam is used to turn the turbines that produce electricity. The concept is the same as a coal-burning power plant, only the energy created is clean.
- Hydropower relies on power created by flowing water. Turbines are placed in the water’s flow and the resulting pressure causes them to turn. The spinning turbines produce clean energy that is sustainable as long as the water is running.
Learn About IFS Technologies for Clean and Renewable Energy Production
Clean energy will be a major part of the future. With incentives being given by state and federal governments to companies that create and use clean, renewable energy it makes sense to look at these alternative sources of energy.
At Integrated Flow Solutions, a DXP Company, we provide the most effective renewable energy solutions for your applications. As one of many process skid manufacturers present in the industry, we offer cutting edge fuel gas conditioning systems and other renewable energy processing technology to help enhance your approach to leveraging alternative energy. Solutions include:
- Biogas Pre-Treatment Skids
- Biomethane Capture System
- Chemical Injection Pumps and Systems
- Biodiesel Slurry Pumps
- Biogas Tanker Truck Loading/Offloading
- Bioethanol Pumps and Systems
- Biofuel Plant Heat Exchangers
- Gas Pressure Regulations and Controls
- Fuel Gas Conditioning
- Particle Filtration Systems
- Balance of Plant Equipment
- Renewable Oil Blending Systems
- Plant Ammonia Handling for NOx Emission Control
- Geothermal Brine Re-injection Pumps
- Lobed Blowers
Contact us online today to see more about the full selection of industrial solutions we offer.